by Julius Lester

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Guardian 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
SLeeD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. It was a quick read with a powerful message. I recommended this for a middle school group read. Provides lots of thought-provoking discussion. Themes of friendship and integrity combine with the darker side of black history to pack a punch!
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book discusses an important but disturbing piece of American history ¿ racially inspired mob lynching in the 1940s South. The book takes on the perspective of several people living in a small town where a shocking and violent rape results in an innocent man¿s life being taken. I admire the author tackling such a weighty issue, but I had two major problems with this book. The first is that the slim book focuses on less than a week¿s worth of time, and I feel like the characters and writing style both suffer from this. Instead of letting the characters have time to develop, the author has to just come out and say what the characters are supposed to be like ¿ i.e., he is evil, he is good, he is scared, etc. ¿ rather than show this through a more elaborate unfolding of the major characters. As a consequence, the reader never really feels like the characters could be real people (instead of caricatures) and can¿t feel connected with the characters. The second problem I had is with the writing style. For much of the book, it feels almost like the author is writing stage directions rather than a novel. In addition, I didn¿t particularly like the way the omniscient narrator jumps back and forth between the past, present, and future within a sentence or a paragraph. (For instance, note the discontinuity in this paragraph: ¿As the Reverend walks back into the crowd, people eagerly step forward to shake his hand, pat him on the back, express their condolences over his loss. Many of them will think back on this night when, the very next summer, the Reverend is caught with one of the girls from the Junior Choir, which is what had happened in Atlanta. The Reverend and his wife were barely given time to pack before they left Davis. No one knew where he went, and no one cared.¿ ¿ p. 87). Personally, I also felt like many of the situations in this book were more adult than young adult in nature. Honestly, the best part of the book for me was the historical facts included in the back of the book.
Miranda_Paige on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A deeply moving book with an equally deep message, I found this book at the library and brought it home but then never read it. A couple months later i came back and got it again. I read it and have not regretted it since. It is a quick but powerful read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This short story was very moving. Ansel is a 14 yr old growing up in rural Atlanta in a very racial town named Davis in 1946. He¿s the son of the local general store owner who tries to make everyone happy and acts just right so as not to ruffle anyone¿s feathers. Ansel is a good kid. He has a crush on the pastors daughter Mary Susan, he has a caring mother, who hates the racism of the town, and a close friend, Little Willie¿who happens to be black. Bert his father isn¿t happy about it but Ms. Davis asked him to give Little Willie a job and no one says ¿no¿ to a Davis. Ms. Ester Davis isn¿t like the rest of the town. She was educated in Massachusetts and only returned to help take care of her ailing father, who God apparently punished for his wrong deeds by making him die a slow 10 yr death. Ester is unhappy watching her younger brother Zeph torture the blacks in town with his son Zeph following suit and worse yet. In the short few days this 78 pg story takes place, Ansel & Willie¿s lives are permanently changed. I agree with the author, Julius Lester, the story was unique & startling to present all the ugliness of racism & lynching from a white persons point of view; who had to live with the knowledge of "what if¿"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JGomez More than 1 year ago
i read this book andjust thought it was so good!! it was really sad but i would definetly recommend this book to my friends and family! also it is definelty worthy of reading again!!! i love julius lester he is an amazing author!
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
There was a dark time in the history of the United States when even the best-intentioned people bore silent witness to the atrocities that were being committed by others. A time in which a person had to chose between honesty and personal safety.

It is Tuesday afternoon, a hot summer day in 1946. By Friday night a crime will have been committed, two people will be dead, and fourteen-year-old Ansel Anderson will be forever tormented by the events of that night and those that followed.

Ansel lives in Davis, a small town deep in the South. The town was named after the most wealthy and influential family in the area, the family now headed by Zeph Davis. Cap'n Davis has a way of employing his "negroes" in such a way that they remain in debt to him, a legal form of slavery.

Everyone in Davis knows the rules of the social order. Black people are expected to address all whites - even the children - as "ma'am" or "sir", they are to move from the sidewalk when a white person is coming, and they are to always be congenial. Even Ansel's best friend, Willie, addresses him as Mister Ansel.

Ansel works in his father's store, along with Willie. Bert Anderson is preparing Ansel to take over the store someday, and to be a successful store owner he knows that Ansel has to start considering who he spends time with and what the other people in town think of him. His mother Maureen feels differently. She doesn't like the way the townspeople act and doesn't want her son to grow up with such narrow-minded influences. She has bigger dreams for Ansel, and, along with Esther Davis, Cap'n Davis's sister, she plants the seeds for Ansel to dream of a future beyond Davis.

An unfortunate storm is brewing in Davis. Entitlement and anger are swelling in Zeph Davis the Third, the teenage son of Cap'n Davis. But who would believe that the son of a wealthy white man could commit such a heinous act as rape and murder when there was a negroe at the scene of the crime?

And even if they do believe, will anyone take the risk of speaking out?

GUARDIAN is an amazingly well-crafted story that grabs your attention and your heart from the very beginning. Author Julius Lester has a way of pulling you along in such a way that you can feel the intensity building with every word until the explosive finale. There is no sugar-coating to this story; it is real and it is raw and borne from a very sad reality in our world.

If you can read and pass along one book this year, let it be GUARDIAN.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago